I’ve gotten bored of all this a few years ago. When Griffin was in power, absolutely no change was considered.
From a quick look at the article, the Orion seems to have slimmed down considerably from the ESAS days (probably because of Ares I performance problems). The black zones myth has also been dispelled. Oh my. What do Doug Stanley and Mike Griffin say to that? Will there be a congressional hearing about where the billions went, and why? Of course not, it’s space policy so no blunder or incompetence is technical ever – it’s all just happy equal opinions. The end part of the article is just bites from Griffin’s speech saying how the government doesn’t give enough money to NASA.
Seems also NSF is the only news outlet on the ball (I don’t really follow them all though, don’t know what’s been up at Florida Today for example). They got information weeks earlier but requested answers from the NASA side as well and got comments on this before making it an article.
Good work, Chris Bergin, the sources, all the people writing articles, as well as the forum people. I think the site was founded in 2005 so it’s been a swift rise to the top. Internet papers didn’t get any Pulitzers in the recent awards ceremonies, but in some specialist categories they might deserve good awards.
Perhaps space journalism prizes should be founded and given out every year.
In my view the CEV is still quite big, and thus the launcher alternatives are limited. Projected LEO versions of Apollo seated as far as six people. Though if Orion’s service module is refueled in orbit, the monolithic liftoff mass might be reduced considerably. The key is to have so light elements that you can use multiple launchers – which then on its own helps to ensure improvability for the whole architecture since it’s not stuck with one solution from here to the end. The EELV launching is already a step in that direction, and miles better than Ares or Direct.